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VOLUME 2: INTERMISSION - THE WITCHING HOUR.

Status

Name Gi Da

Race Goblin

Level 36

Class Rare

Possessed Skills Spearmanship C-; Knowledge of the Spear; Spear Throwing; Overpowering Howl; Unreasonably Stubborn

Divine Protection None

Attributes None

As the adventurers kicked down the door of every house, they warily asked the humans they found of the goblins' whereabouts.

"Where are they?" Bellan asked in that interrogative manner he'd picked up when he was still a knight, while Mill asked the women left in the village about the saint. As a result, they were able to confirm that the saint was in fact still alive, and so they hurried their pace even as they kept a watchful eye out.

Lopping off the protruding branch and kicking off the ground, they chased after the goblins with hastened gait.

Mill led from the front. After confirming the saint's survival, her desire to save her reached the peak, and she could not help but take the most dangerous position of them all. As someone who was originally famed for her speed, her haste made the group of adventurers go even faster.

Still, there was a limit to the distance one could cross in a day. Half the day later, they reached a lake and happened upon a group of lizard men. The ghastly Mill and the war-loving Gulland made short work of them, then they hurried themselves even more. But in the end, they had to stop to make camp when the day came to a close.

"Just a little bit more. If we go just a little further," Mill pestered, but Gulland firmly shook his head.

"...Wyatt," Mill turned to Wyatt.

But he only agreed with Gulland. "Sorry, but he's right this time."

Mill drooped her shoulders at that.

"Actually," Fick said when he saw the downhearted maiden. "If you don't mind accompanying me alone, I still have to patrol the area."

Wyatt wryly smiled when he saw Fick wink after saying that, while Gulland just said that they could do whatever they want. Shortly after, Mill left with Fick.

Then after an hour of searching around the camp, Fick came to a halt.

"Well paint me green and call me a goblin," Fick said with an expression that wanted to laugh but couldn't.

"What? Is something there?" Mill asked.

"You bet, a huge horde of almost a hundred of them gobs," Fick said as he quietly traced back his steps, planning to retreat, but when he saw Mill, he stopped.

"Hey!" Fick quietly called. "What are you doing?"

"Thank you, Fill," Mill said. "Lady Reshia is there. I have to save her."

Fick managed to catch her by the shoulder before she left. Quieting his voice as much as he could, he rebuked her. "Are you stupid? Look at the situation!"

The sun had already set. With darkness everywhere, it was no longer a time of man but of monsters. Fighting in this darkness, in which the monsters could fight at their best, was nothing short of suicide.

"Let go!" Mill said as she struggled with Fick, but then they both heard something sound from the thickets. Like a pair of deer caught in the headlights, the both of them stood frozen still for a moment before deciding to retreat.

"...We're going, ok?"

"Damn it... Just wait, Lady Resiha! I'll definitely save you!"

The two adventurers quickly retreated from the goblin horde.

◆◇◆

Meanwhile, Gowen Ranid stopped at the village the adventurers left. Before him was a plate of simple food no different from what his men ate, a pile of paperwork that needed to be done, and the residents of this village.

"So why are you people here?" He asked as he signed the papers, then he looked at the men with that ever cold gaze of his.

"We were..." The man hesitated for a moment.

The man who answered for the group was the man in charge of the building of the fences around the king's house and the rest of the village. His hesitation at answering did not escape the feudal lord's cold eyes. Those eyes that seemed to be looking at something rather than someone.

"We were kidnapped by the goblins," the man's wife answered for him.

Her husband glanced at her with shock, but she was clearly emphasizing that they were in fact kidnapped.

"I see... It must have been difficult," the feudal lord said.

The couple heaved a sigh of relief.

"If that is all, then I welcome you to my fief. Rest assured you will be protected along the way," the feudal lord said.

"Thank you very much," the husband said.

"You are dismissed."

Like that the Feudal Lord, Ranid, hastily settled the issue of the five residents.

"Was that alright?" His adjutant asked. "Their women might be of child, of goblin child that is..."

"It's fine." Only Gowen's eyes moved to answer him. "Once they return to my territory, they will have to pay all unpaid taxes. Goblins are of little relevance."

The adjutant swallowed his breath upon hearing that. Gowen apparently figured that they must've ran from another fief, and was apparently intending on making them pay the taxes they failed to pay once they return.

Commoners fleeing a fief wasn't rare. On the contrary, it was quite common. And that was so for just a year's worth of tax. These people must've been missing for some time now. It wouldn't be odd if these people missed at least two years of tax. That was not something they could possibly account for. At least, not unless they sold a relative or two to slavery anyway...

Yet the feudal lord remained as cold as ever, not a hint of emotion or sympathy on him despite knowing that, reminding the adjutant again of why this man was so fearsome.

"It should be about time for our pack of dogs to catch something."

"Yes..."

Gowen analyzed the information he received from his scouts with the time the goblins left to make a prediction.

His adjutant would find something like this divine or godlike, but to him it was just a matter of fact.

"Gather the squads. We shall trample the goblins with those pack of dogs," he said.

"But it's already late, if we go now..." the adjutant argued.

The night was the monsters' friend, so Gowen could understand his adjutant's apprehension.

"Of course, I will be leading. You need only watch the surroundings of the village, and ensure that the fire keep burning."

"As you will."

His gaze ever cold, reason and logic wove within his mind as he sought only to attain the best results.

◇◆◇

The ancient beast tamer, Gi Gi, and Hal rode at the king's behest, taking with them 20 of Paradua's iron-legged riders. As a horde consisting purely of riders and beast-tamers, they rode at a speed unknown to those who could only walk. And after only a night of riding, they had already crossed half the journey.

"GURUuu"

The goblins wore a grim face. They had been riding all this time with nary a rest in between. Even the black tigers they rode upon were dyed in the color of fatigue.

But even then, they rode, following the ancient beast tamer, Gi Gi, who rode upon his Large-Horned OstrichTriple Head.

When they passed through some thickts, Hal spoke. "Let's rest here for a bit."

"...Understood," Gi Gi said.

He grit his teeth in frustration as he looked toward the direction of the village. If they kept going like this, they would reach somewhere near the village a day later. If so, then it might be possible to rendezvous with the goblins.

As he fed the triple head some dried fruits, he leaned his back to the ostrich's large body and closed his eyes. By doing so, he would only hear the breath of the rider beasts.

-*Rustle

But then the sound of thickets rustling reached his ears, and Gi Gi opened his eyes. From out of the darkness of his vision, he noted a circle of faintly, dazzling green. Opening his eyes just big enough to see a rider beast, he searched around the circle of green light, where he found the breath of man clearly resound.

"...Humans." Gi Gi whispered.

"There's an elf too," Hal added.

The goblins did not know this, but that group of elf and humans was actually none other than Gene's group, who were using the elven path.

"...What a pain. Let's go around them," Hal said, to which Gi Gi asked with his eyes whether it was alright not to finish them off here now. And Hal responded, "What we have to do now is not to protect some elf or hunt some human, but to protect those goblins from the village."

So they woke up their beasts, and they ran away from that ring of green light and rode for the eastern goblin village.

◆◇◆

On the morning of the fifth day since leaving the village, war descended like a fierce storm.

"The divine god is great!Confusion"

"We're under fire!"

As soon as word of an attack resounded, the spell of confusion came.

Soldiers came in droves without order and attacked them before the goblins could tell what was happening.

"Gi Da, take lady Reshia, and run!" Gi Ga said. "Lord Lili, I leave the rest to you."

Gi Ga jumped onto his black tiger and rode into the fray. He left Reshia to the spear-wielding Gi Da and the rest of the humans to Lili. As for him, he would deal with the opposing humans himself.

"Three goblins, one group! The humans are nothing as long as we work together!" Gi Ga ordered.

At his behest, the once confused goblins woke up and fought the humans. Goblins were originally stronger than humans. It was only because of the humans' intellect that allowed them to take an edge over the goblins. So what happens then when the goblins themselves make use of that same intellect? The answer was simple, the humans would fall into a disadvantage.

Moreover-

"What is that goblin!? It's riding on something!"

The entrance of the never-before seen rider-beast and the goblin with an unusually long arm riding it shocked the men, as he pierced one soldier through the chest with his iron spear, and swung it while it was still lodged into the man. The man's body flew through the sky before crashing into the ground. Whatever psychological or physical advantage the humans may have gotten at the start was suddenly blown away.

"Onwards!"

Gi Ga led the goblins against the humans who attacked them by surprise. But despite their unfavorable start, Gi Ga's wise response allowed them to bring the fight back to the humans.

◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇

Status

Name Wyatt Kinoboogu

Race Human

Level 65

Job Expert Adventurer

Possessed Skills Vajra; Shield Rush; Steadfast; Inspire; Sword Mastery B-; Axe Mastery C+; Veteran;

Divine Protection None

Attributes None

Vajra

-Defense is temporary greatly increased, but physical strength is slightly reduced along with physical attack.

Shield Rush

-Can attack with the shield. The shield won't be damaged when this ability is used.

Steadfast

-Endurance will recover unless attacked by the enemy. (MEDIUM)

Inspire

-Suppresses the confusion of your allies. (MEDIUM).

-Raises the morale and physical attack of your allies. (LOW)

Veteran

-Critical rate is increased when fighting against someone of a lower class, while defense is increased when fighting someone of a higher class.

◆◇◆◇◆◇◆◇

Author's Note:

The boundaries separating man from monster grow ever thinner. Who do you like the most? The steadily pursuing Gulland, Gowen, or perhaps the eerie Gene?

Tl's Note:

Changing swordsmanship to sword mastery for the sake of uniformity amongst the weapon mastery skills. e.g. Sword Mastery C+, Axe Mastery C+... etc.

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